Last Season: 8th
Coaches Poll for 2015: 9th
Last season was a terrible one for the women’s soccer team, to say the least. The team finished with a 2–-16 overall record, 2–-12 within the GNAC and ended the season having lost 10 straight. During that time, they only scored three goals while conceding 27. Needless to say, there is a lot work that needs to be done to turn the team around. Despite all the challenges, head coach Annie Hamel is confident that this year, more wins are in the cards.
“Last year was more of a transition year,” said Hamel. “We established a team culture and philosophy. . . but now we’ve done that, and now we’re looking for executing and results. We want to win.”
One of the main concerns that needs addressing this year is goal scoring. The Clan only managed six goals in conference play all of last season, partly because of a defensive 4–-5–-1 formation the team employed. “We’re playing a more attacking [formation], a 4–-4–-2 diamond. I think our players now are better suited to going forward, so we’re playing a formation that better suits the personnel that we have.”
To help become a more offensive team, coach Hamel and her staff recruited more attack-minded players this year. “I tried to recruit goal scorers this year. It’s been an issue here for a number of years, so we certainly have a number of players who can do that now. Hopefully we generate more attacking opportunities.”
Ten new recruits come into the program this year, and coach Hamel is excited about what they can bring to the squad. “They were all recruited here for a reason. They all come from good clubs where I know their coaches personally and I know how they have been trained. . . so far I’ve been actually surprised by a couple of them, in a very positive way.”
The new players will need to contribute quickly, as there is a high turnover with this year’s squad. “We have a small roster this year — 20 players who are eligible, and three of those are goalkeepers. So we only have 17 field players, which is a very low number. We are going to need everybody, playing loads of minutes, and in terms of fatigue.”
Not surprisingly after last season, the Clan were picked to finish dead last in the GNAC. That doesn’t seem to bother Hamel, who isn’t the biggest fan of the coaches polls. “I won’t be using it for anything. Whether we had been picked last, first, or middle of the pack, it’s not something I place value on. These polls are useless, honestly. We don’t have time to do it. I’m not going to sit there and analyze statistically whom they recruited and such. So you just pick literally where they finished last year [in the standings] and vote that way. It’s not a motivational tool for me. It’s nothing, it’s nonexistent.”
The Clan will have a tough test to start conference play, as they will play last year’s number one team, Western Washington, on September 19th.